Life Currencies And The Coffee Industry

If having a job is for the purpose of making money alone, then that thing you spend a third of your life doing, your job, is doing little more than increasing your financial wealth. And let's face it, in the coffee industry, unless you’re one of the very lucky few, you’re living from paycheck to paycheck so it’s not even doing that.

Our professional lives, even in the coffee industry, should be feeding us in multiple ways: intellectually, ethically, inspirationally, physically, and emotionally just to name a few. Understanding, defining, and building our life currencies is a fundamental part of establishing our career maps if we’re going to give ourselves any kind of a shot at having fulfilled professional careers. 

Life currencies are the currencies in your life that bring you that feeling of wealth. Mine (and the currencies of my businesses Elixir Specialty Coffee, Map It Forward, and my music releases), in order of importance are:

  1. Peace of Mind
  2. Flow
  3. Growth
  4. Freedom
  5. Purpose
  6. Connectedness
  7. Clarity

You may be asking why money doesn't make my list of Life Currencies. Studies have shown time and time again that money won't make you happy past meeting your basic living needs. This goes for personal needs as well as business needs. For that reason, I consider money a "resource" for building my Life Currencies rather than a "currency" in it's own right. Other resources include, relationships, social currency, brand value, accessibility to knowledge, vulnerability, open communication, integrity, publicity, and the quality of the team, just to name a few. Increasing your resources, and knowing how to affectively use them to increase the wealth in your currencies is the difference between a successful business/person and one that struggles. 

An example of how this relationship between "resources" and "currencies" works can be shown with wages. Having adequate money to pay staff on time every month feels wonderful and brings peace of mind (my number one currency). However, paying shitty staff that never show up to work on time and cause you more headaches than they're worth, can significantly take away from your peace of mind as a business owner. Conversely, having great staff that you can't pay because your cash flow is limited is equally as taxing on your peace of mind. Building your financial resources as well has building your resources in a great hiring protocol, staff education, communication, team building, and boundary setting strategies all go towards building solid, sustainable Peace Of Mind for a business. 

The same analogy is applicable to your personal life in relation to wages and the quality of people you have around you, i.e. it’s great to have money but sucks to have people who lack integrity around you because they’ll leach off of you. Having great people in your life is wonderful but the anxiety of not having enough money to pay you bills hinders your ability to enjoy your time with those people because you’re always worried. Peace of mind comes when you’re able to increase both those resources.

That being said, money is still a valid Life Currency. Some people just love to have money and are defined by it. It's your list of Life Currencies and no one can tell you what you should or shouldn’t be striving for. For me however, chasing a number rather than improving my quality of life goes against how I choose to live.


Photo Credit: Matthew Henry

Photo Credit: Matthew Henry

Author: Lee Safar

Lee SafarComment